Research Scientist

Overcoming the Limitations of E-Prime: Exploring Alternatives and Successful Migration

Many researchers use the E-Prime Desktop Application for their behavioral and cognitive experiment. However, with the digital age advancing, online experiments are becoming a substantial part of psychological research. This has rendered E-Prime's offline nature a major hurdle.

Limitations of E-Prime

E-Prime has been a robust software for running experiments with the ability to design complex cognitive tasks. However, there are a few noted limitations:

  • Lack of online capabilities: In the era of remote studies, the lack of online capabilities is a significant drawback. It restricts researchers to in-person studies.
  • Limited sharing options: Collaborative work could be challenging due to limited file sharing options.
  • Complex scripting: To customize the experiment beyond built-in features requires knowledge of E-Prime’s specific scripting language.

Online Alternatives to E-Prime

Thankfully, there are credible E-Prime alternatives that allow researchers to conduct online experiments and improve collaboration. Here are a few:

  • jsPsych: It’s a JavaScript library with a large collection of plugins for common cognitive tasks. You can run online experiments, collect data and scale up your study as needed.
  • Cognition: Cognition provides a straightforward platform to design, create, and run online studies, with the benefit of pooling participants from around the globe.

Migrating to an Online Platform

Migrating isn't a one-click process. It requires thorough planning and execution to maintain data integrity and prevent hitches during ongoing studies. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose an alternative: Choose based on your specific research requirements, budget, and the experiment's complexity.
  2. Re-create experiment: There are limited options for automatic conversion between applications. Therefore, you usually have to manually recreate your experiment within the new platform.
  3. Data migration: Ensure that previous data is securely migrated to avoid missing data or changing data formats that could affect future experiments.

Assessing the Cost of Migration

The cost of migration depends on multiple factors like the complexity of the current experiments, the number of ongoing experiments, and the chosen online platform. However, considering the convenience and widened reach of online platforms, many researchers have found the investment worthwhile.

The shift towards effective online tools like jsPsych or Cognition is evident. The use of these platforms helps researchers break their geographical boundaries, enhance collaboration, and increase the scalability of their studies.

Related articles: